College football: Former Salisbury lineman returns home to Catawba

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 1, 2023


By Mike London

SALISBURY — Chris Green II, who will be a transfer football player for Catawba College this fall, is proud that his father played big league baseball.

Chris Green Sr. grew up in Los Angeles and was a fourth-round draft pick by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1979. A 6-foot-2 left-hander, Green won 53 games and saved 30 in the minor leagues from 1979-87, pitching everywhere from Shelby to Hawaii. After he won a team-high 15 games for a pennant-winning Greenwood team in the South Atlantic League in 1981, Green was on the fast track to the majors.

When he was 23, he arrived in The Show — but his stay at the highest level was brief. In 1984, he answered Pittsburgh manager Chuck Tanner’s calls to the bullpen four times.

And then it was back to the minors.

Chris II inherited a lot of his father’s athletic ability, but not the zest for baseball.

“Tried it, but baseball was never my thing,” Chris II said. “I’ve always liked the fast-paced games better.”

When he was a senior at Salisbury High in the fall of 2021, Green figured out that he could be a standout in the fast-paced game of football. He weighed about 270 pounds then, and there was a maturing process that included setbacks, but Brian Hinson, who was the Salisbury head coach then, helped mold Green into a tough player. Green played with serious intensity, and while he’s an easy-going guy off the field, he could get mean on Fridays.

As the left guard, Green developed into Salisbury’s most dominant lineman. He was a battering blocker for JyMikaah Wells and protected Mike Geter, as the Hornets put up record-breaking numbers. Geter and Wells accounted for 66 touchdowns in 12 games, and for an offensive lineman, Green was almost famous. He attracted offers from NAIA, Division II and Division III schools and made 2A All-State squads.

Green picked Elizabeth City State University because he felt positive, family-like vibes from players and coaches when he visited the Division HBCU school. He looked forward to getting away from home and experiencing college life.

Green redshirted during the 2022 season for the Vikings. It wasn’t a wasted year, but it was a long year far from home. That drive to Elizabeth City was at least four hours and seemed to get longer every time he made it.

“But I practiced hard for them and I learned a lot about what it takes to play college football,” Green said. “I’ve got a lot more information now than when I started college football.”

One thing Green learned was that while every teenager feels a need to break loose and get away and be on his own, home is always the best place. That’s where the unconditional love and support are. That’s why Green has come back to Catawba, which is within walking distance of his house.

“Going to school back home in Salisbury, I can be there for my family when they need me and they can be there for me,” Green said. “I made the decision to come home right after Elizabeth City State’s Spring Game.”

Green is enthusiastic about the new Catawba staff, led by head coach Tyler Haines. He’s specifically enthusiastic about Brian Collins, the new offensive line coach.

“It’s a young staff with a lot of energy,” Green said.

Besides strength and power, Green has quick feet for an offensive lineman. He has grown to 6-foot-4, 315 pounds now, so he should be able to help the rebuilding Indians, who will be opening the season on Sept. 2 at, of all places, Elizabeth City State.

While Green was a high school guard, he may make a transition to center for the Indians.

“That’s what we’ve talked about,” Green said. “That would be an adjustment, but it’s an adjustment that I am excited about making. I work every day on fundamentals and my get-off.”

Academically, Green is in good shape.  When he headed to ECSU he was looking at a psychology major. That’s still the plan.

“I’ had a 3.7 GPA at Elizabeth City State,” Green said. “And Catawba has a really good psychology program that could lead to me getting a masters.”